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Norman considers 'borrowing' water from Del City to bolster supply

Norman officials say they would like to increase their water allocation from Lake Thunderbird by “borrowing” from Del City's allocated, but unused, supply.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Published: January 21, 2013
/articleid/3747690/1/pictures/1932416">Photo - PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN

Any contract with Del City would be subject to approval by the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District, he said.

Increasing the city's allocation from Lake Thunderbird when possible would be a temporary means of addressing supply problems, Lewis said.

Norman gets 66 percent of its drinking water from Lake Thunderbird and the remainder from wells. During peak summer months, the city purchases treated water from Oklahoma City to augment its supply.

Oklahoma City is facing its own supply problem, however. On Thursday, Oklahoma City officials announced a mandatory water conservation plan for residents and businesses because of low levels at Hefner, Overholser and Draper lakes. All cities, including Norman, who are Oklahoma City customers during months of peak water usage are subject to the plan, which calls for odd/even watering depending on street addresses.

Conservation plans

Norman already implemented a mandatory water conservation plan about two weeks ago that not only requires its customers to water outdoors only on odd/even days, but also prohibits outdoor watering altogether Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Washing cars, trucks and trailers also is prohibited unless it's at a commercial car wash, and no washing or hosing down of buildings, driveways, patios and other paved surfaces is allowed.

Long-range water supply solutions for Norman are being considered in a 2060 Strategic Water Supply Study that is currently under way, Komiske said. The study could be ready as early as late March.

Carollo Engineers Inc. is working with an ad hoc committee to address Norman's water supply needs through the year 2060.

A range of potential water supply sources are being considered including the Kiamichi River or Sardis Lake in southeast Oklahoma, Kaw Lake in north central Oklahoma, Scissortail Lake, west of Ada, and Parker Reservoir, east of Ada. Scissortail lake and Parker Reservoir have been proposed but not built.

One of the least expensive options would be a direct link to Oklahoma City's Atoka water line, which would give Norman the ability to buy and pump raw water into Lake Thunderbird.

The conservancy district also is studying the reuse of wastewater effluent “by taking it, treating it and returning it to Lake Thunderbird.”

The effluent could come from the Moore Wastewater Treatment Plant and/or from a future northside treatment plant in Norman.

The Norman City Council recently approved a contract for an engineering study for a northside plant, although no construction date has been set.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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